Friday 25 May 2018

Don't give in to push for higher wages: Central Bank

The Central Bank
The Central Bank
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

COMPETITIVENESS gains secured during the crisis shouldn't be lost in the push to drive up wages, the Central Bank said yesterday.

The warning challenges Siptu leader Jack O'Connor, who has signalled his union is to embark on a major campaign for pay increases of 5pc across the economy.

Central Bank chief economist Gabriel Fagan cautioned that while the public finances had improved, the economy was still not safe.

"The economy lost a lot of competitiveness in the era of the boom," Mr Fagan said, at the publication of the Central Bank's quarterly report yesterday.

"Some of that has been regained. It would be quite unfortunate if those competitiveness gains were reversed or lost by wage policies."

The head of the country's largest union has said Siptu will engage "in a new battle to establish a minimum living wage of €11.45 an hour across all sectors of the economy."

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has signalled pay rises for public sector workers who took a hit during the recession.

Business lobby group Ibec published a study last month showing workers at more than 50pc of companies are set to get a pay rise this year - the first widespread increases since the economic crisis.

Irish Independent

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